Dazai Osamu

▪ Japanese author
pseudonym of  Tsushima Shūji  
born June 19, 1909, Kanagi, Aomori prefecture, Japan
died June 13, 1948, Tokyo

      novelist who emerged at the end of World War II as the literary voice of his time. His dark, wry tone perfectly captured the confusion of postwar Japan, when traditional values were discredited and the younger generation nihilistically rejected all of the past.

      Born in northern Japan, the sixth son of a wealthy landowner and politician, Dazai often reverted to his background as material for his fiction. Although the dominant mood of much of his writing was gloom, he was also famed for his humour, which sometimes approached farce. Dazai's first collection of short stories, Bannen (1936; “The Twilight Years”), showed him to be potentially a versatile writer of many styles and topics, but he tended toward the shishōsetsu (“I,” or personal fiction) form, and the persona of the author was thenceforth to be seen in most of his fictional characters. Dazai was deeply concerned with his craft, and his stories were far from being mere confessional documents; nevertheless, his artistry was often obscured by the wide publicity given to his dissipation, a source of continued attraction, especially to youthful readers. Almost alone among Japanese writers, Dazai continued to produce works of real literary merit during the war years (1941–45). Otogi zōshi (1945; “Fairy Tales”), new versions of traditional tales, represented a triumph of his style and wit. Tsugaru (1944; Return to Tsugaru) was a deeply sympathetic memorial to his place of birth. The tone of his postwar works—Shayō (1947; The Setting Sun), Biyon no tsuma (1947; Villon's Wife), and Ningen shikkaku (1948; No Longer Human), all translated by Donald Keene—becomes increasingly despairing, reflecting the emotional crisis of the author. After several unsuccessful attempts earlier in his life, Dazai committed suicide in 1948, leaving uncompleted a novel ominously entitled Goodbye.

Additional Reading
Phyllis I. Lyons, The Saga of Dazai Osamu (1985); and James A. O'Brien, Dazai Osamu (1975), relate Dazai's life to his works of fiction. Alan Wolfe, Suicidal Narrative in Modern Japan (1990), considers Dazai as an exemplar of the suicidal-author tradition in Japan.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dazai Osamu — (jap. 太宰 治; * 19. Juni 1909 in Kanagi (heute: Goshogawara), Präfektur Aomori; † 13. Juni 1948 in Tokio), eigentlich Tsushima Shūji (津島 修治), war ein japanischer Sc …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dazai Osamu — Osamu Dazai Osamu Dazai dans les années 1940 Osamu Dazai (太宰 治, Dazai Osamu?) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • DAZAI OSAMU — (1909–1948)    Dazai Osamu, given name Tsushima Shuji, was born in northern Japan, the child of a wealthy landowner. An excellent boarding school student, he began neglecting his studies after his idol Akutagawa Ryunosuke committed suicide. Much… …   Japanese literature and theater

  • Dazai, Osamu — orig. Shuji Tsushima (19 jun. 1909, Kanagi, prefectura de Aomori, Japón–13 jun. 1948, Tokio). Novelista japonés. A fines de la segunda guerra mundial, Dazai emergió como la voz literaria de su época, al retratar el período de confusión de la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Dazai, Osamu — orig. Shuji Tsushima born June 19, 1909, Kanagi, Aomori prefecture, Japan died June 13, 1948, Tokyo Japanese novelist. At the end of World War II he emerged as the literary voice of his time, capturing the period of postwar confusion when… …   Universalium

  • Dazai Osamu — Tsushima Shuji …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

  • Dazai-Osamu-Gedenkstätte — Die Dazai Osamu Gedenkstätte „Shayōkan“ (jap. 太宰治記念館 「斜陽館」, Dazai Osamu Kinenkan „Shayōkan“) steht in dem Ort Kanagi (heute: Goshogawara) in der Präfektur Aomori. Bei der literarischen Gedenkstätte handelt sich um das ehemalige Wohnhaus des… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dazai Osamu Prize — The Dazai Osamu Prize (太宰治賞) is a Japanese literary prize named for novelist Dazai Osamu (1909–1948). The prize was established in 1965 by the Chikuma Shobo publishing company, discontinued in 1978, and resumed again in 1999 with co sponsorship… …   Wikipedia

  • Dazai-Osamu-Preis — Der Dazai Osamu Preis (jap. 太宰治賞, Dazai Osamu Shō) ist ein Literaturpreis für Nachwuchsschriftsteller, der alljährlich von der Stadt Mitaka und dem Verlag Chikuma Shobō für außergewöhnliche und noch nicht veröffentlichte Kurzgeschichten vergeben… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • DAZAI OSAMU PRIZE —    The Dazai Osamu Prize (Dazai Osamu sho), founded in 1964 in honor of author Dazai Osamu, is awarded annually for an unpublished short story by a previously unrecognized author. (The work may have appeared in a coterie magazine.) The winner… …   Japanese literature and theater

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